US & Canada

Democrat Joe Kennedy to respond to Trump's union speech

Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D-MA) speaks to supporters of House Democrats taking part in a sit-in on the House Chamber outside the U.S. Capitol on 23 June 2016 in Washington, DC. Image copyright Getty Images

Joseph Kennedy III, part of the Kennedy political dynasty, will deliver the Democrats' response to President Donald Trump's first State of the Union address on Tuesday.

The speech will make him the public face of his party and the main voice countering the president's politics.

Mr Kennedy came to attention last year for his criticism of Republican attempts to end Obamacare.

The Massachusetts representative is considered a Democratic rising star.

The speech will also greatly elevate the 37-year-old's profile and suggests the Democrats are willing to have a younger generation represent the party.

Some political observers believe the three-time congressman will appeal to working- and middle-class voters, who the Democrats would argue have been neglected by Trump, despite his campaign pledges.

"Congressman Kennedy is a relentless fighter for working Americans," Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said in a press release announcing his selection.

Speaking to the Boston Globe, Mr Kennedy said: "From healthcare to economic justice to civil rights, the Democratic agenda stands in powerful contrast to President Trump's broken promises to American families."

Mr Kennedy's speech will be followed by a Spanish-language response delivered by Elizabeth Guzman, the first Hispanic female immigrant elected to the Virginia House of Delegates.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Joe Kennedy's great-uncle was President John F Kennedy (L) and his grandfather was Senator Robert Kennedy (R)

Family legacy

Joe P Kennedy III comes from strong political stock. He is the grandson of Senator Robert Kennedy and the great-nephew of President John F Kennedy, both of whom were assassinated in the 1960s.

His father, Joe P Kennedy II, was also Democratic member of the House of Representatives.

Next week, the young Kennedy will follow in the footsteps of his other great-uncle, Edward Kennedy, who delivered the Democrats' official response to Ronald Reagan's State of the Union address in 1982.

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